• Irons, Price: 3-PW ($162.50 steel, $177.50 graphite)
  • Stock Steel Shafts: True Temper Dynamic Gold (S300, X100), Project X (5.0, 6.0), Nippon Modus 105 (Stiff, X-Stiff), True Temper XP 95 (R, S)
  • Stock Graphite Shaft: Ping CFS (65G Soft R, 70G Regular, 80G Stiff)
  • Stock Grip: Golf Pride New Decade Multi-Compound (Black/White)
  • In-Stores: TBD, Available for Pre-Order

Since you’re reading this review, there’s a good chance you’re a golfer who doesn’t rely on the added distance or forgiveness of today’s hot-faced irons; it’s your skill that’s responsible for great iron shots, not the technology in your clubs.

To play your best, you need to be able to feel the difference between a perfect shot and a slight mishit so you can correct the issue. When you want to hit a two-yard draw, you need to know your irons will do just that, provided you make the proper swing. You require the most precise tools, so you rely on a subset of irons termed “blades” for ultimate control.

Ping_IBlade_4_iron_address
A Ping iBlade 4-iron at address.

Ping’s new iBlades fit the broadest definition of blade irons; they have the narrow soles, thin top lines, short blade lengths, minimal offset, maximum workability, excellent feedback and soft feel blade players want. They aren’t forged like most blades or blade-like irons, though, instead opting for a multi-material, cast chassis that Ping uses to boost forgiveness and distance. Think of them as “intelligent blades;” they’re a much smarter choice for blade players who don’t compete for a living, and even some who do.

Ping has been attacking the classic definition of blade irons since 2004 when it released its first S-Series iron, the S59. The S58, S57, S56 and S55 irons followed, with the new iBlades being the most aggressive assault on the blade category to date.

Ping_IBlade_9_iron
The iBlade irons use a HydroPearl finish that’s similar to the one used on Ping’s Glide wedges.

The iBlades offer more distance and more forgiveness than their predecessors, Ping’s S55 irons, as well as more refined look and feel that makes them more “blade-like” than they’ve ever been. It’s unlikely that the iBlades will make a 15-handicap golfer a single-digit, but they can make a big difference in a blade-player’s game. Millimeter for millimeter, so to speak, they’re probably the most forgiving blade irons on the market.

Like Ping’s Glide wedges, the iBlades are cast from 431 stainless steel, which has two benefits: the metal feels softer at impact, and it has a higher strength-to-weight ratio than the 17-4 stainless steel used to make the S55’s, saving about 4 grams of weight from the design. Ping was able to repeat the weight-saving process in a few different areas: the club faces are thinner, the cavities have been hollowed out more, and each iron’s Custom Tuning Port (CTP) was extended closer to the sole.

Ping_CTP

The gram-by-gram changes added up to Ping being able to use an average of 23 grams of tungsten per iBlade iron head (the S55 irons used an average of 14 grams per head), but golfers won’t know the tungsten is there unless someone tells them. More on that later.

As in previous models, the tungsten weights were placed in the low-toe area of the irons to help improve each iron’s moment of inertia, a measure of forgiveness. According to Ping, the average MOI boost was 4.5 percent when measuring across the club face (heel to toe), and 4 percent when measuring from top to bottom when compared to the S55 irons. That might not sound like a lot, but it is comparatively. When the S55 irons were released in late 2013, the MOI increase over Ping’s previous model, the S56, was just 0.5 percent.

Ping_Tungsten

That brings us to the first ball our testers hit with the iBlade irons; “Wow, these are soft.”

The iBlades place 1.6 times more elastomer directly behind the impact area of the club face, leading to an impressively soft feel when golfers flush a shot. Ping’s designers call the experience “activating the elastomer.” Mishit a shot slightly, though, and the feel isn’t as pleasing, and that’s by design. The good thing about those slight mishits is our testers reported that they flew pretty much like their perfect shots. Remember, we’re talking about slight mishits, not complete impact disasters. Those will be punished appropriately. These are blades, after all.

Spec Sheet from Ping Golf.
Spec Sheet from Ping Golf.

Our testers also commented on how much distance they were seeing from the iBlade 3- and 4-irons. Those currently using Ping irons will want to know that the company strengthened the stock loft of the 3 iron (by 1 degree to 20 degrees) and 4 iron (by 0.5 degrees to 23.5), while actually weakening the lofts of the 7-9 irons by 1 degree. The pitching wedge remains 46 degrees.

The stock lengths of each of the irons has also been extended by 0.25 inches with the exception of the pitching wedge, which remains 35.5 inches. With the changes, Ping is now is pretty much in line with industry standards.

We say all that to say, yes, slightly longer shafts and stronger lofts help the distance equation in the long irons, but we don’t think the performance boost is only due to a spec change. The long irons are faster and more forgiving, and that will make it easier for golfers to gap their long irons.

Added bounce and a slightly heel grind help improve turf interaction.
Added bounce and a slight heel grind help improve turf interaction.

Our testers also appreciated the refined sole grinds of the iBlades, which have the same sole widths, but more bounce the the S55 irons. It’s a minor change of only a few degrees, but the testers told us the iBlades don’t want to stick in the turf — even in soft conditions.

There are several other small changes golfers may or may not notice about the iBlades when compared to the S55’s: some that help with performance, and some that contribute to the more streamlined look of the irons.

Slightly shorter grooves give the iBlade irons a more compact, traditional look at address.
Slightly shorter grooves give the iBlades a more traditional blade appearance.

For one, the grooves don’t extend as far toward the toe of the club face, a visual trick that makes the irons appear smaller than they are. Traditionalists will love that, as well as the longer hosels of the short irons, which help the short irons blend more seamlessly with the look of a golfer’s wedges, and also boost MOI. In fact, according to Ping, the MOI of the short irons (6-PW) is actually the same as Ping’s larger i irons.

Golfers might also notice that the iBlades have straighter leading edges and longer ferrules, which gives them a more classic look. Ping even removed the graphics on the back of the irons that in the past highlighted their tungsten weight. That’s because for most blade buyers, performance is about what’s not visible.

iBlade_irons_feat_2

With the iBlades, tiny mishits are going to fly almost exactly like perfect shots, so hold your finish when you’re fractionally off. Unless you tell them, your playing partners will never know you didn’t flush the shot.

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53 COMMENTS

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  1. Spent 90 minutes on a GC2 with a reputable fitter. I’m a 2 hc and have a 7 iron SS of 93. I was willing to pay any price for new irons with the exception of PXG. We tried various shaft and head combinations to achieve our target numbers while focusing heavily on what happens during slight mishits. I tried the new jpx tours (what I wanted to like most when I walked in), AP2 716, MB 716, MP25s, Apex pros and iBlades. Unquestionably, the iBlades stole the show in nearly every category. Shot dispersion was better. Workability is great. Carry distances where more consistent. Gapping is good. They feel every bit as good or better than the forged ones tried. Misses fly incredibly. The sound they make when flushed is awesome- not what I remember Ping’s sounding like. All around, they’re winners. As a previous hater, it’s easy to talk smack on these before you try them, but I’m converted. I’m glad to spend the dough on these puppies- they’re much cheaper than the 716 MBs that fly inconsistent yardages when you’re not a robot swing machine or Adam Scott.

  2. I am playing the 2013 Callaway X Forged now but I think these might be my next set of irons. I love the feel of forged but I am not a fan of the browning and bag chatter. Plus, it really does hurt if I don’t pure it. If I can get the feel of forged, the durability of cast and the forgiveness of a cavity I can be ok with paying forged pricing.

  3. I got fit today for a new set of irons. I was playing a combo set of titleist 714 Mbs and ap2s. I hit numerous clubs and the Ping iblades were the straightest and longest. Unfortunately I didn’t get to hit mizunos but the iblades were pure. My miss hits were carrying the same distance as good shots. I will be ordering a set tomorrow. The new ap2 is not good but the Mbs and cbs were nice but not as consistent or as long as the iblades. This will be the first set of ping irons I’ve ever had. Great club.

  4. Insanely overpriced for a cast 431 stainless iron. I figure with Ping quality and customization $500 total for a set would be more like it. At least they partially addressed to loft gap issue. A full 4 degrees between long irons would have been better.

    • $500??? Do you know of any other full set of irons (at least 3-PW) from the major manufacturers that retails for less than $800? You want PING to sell theirs for $500 because when other “cast” irons are sold easily for upwards of $1,000? Hey, I’d love it if they were $500 as well, but we are in a time when the $1,000 iron set is not only standard practice, it’s starting to increase even higher than that.

      I’ve argued for years that golfers should either get rid of their 4 iron and keep the 3 and 5 or get rid of the 3 and keep the 4 and the 2 (or a 2-hybrid). For most, the gap between a 3 and 4 iron may only be 5 yards (although the flight may look different). These will hopefully help deal with that issue and if they do, I may get rid of my hybrid and order 3-PW set. I agree that a full 4 degrees would be nice for most, but you can get cast clubs bent up to 1 degree before you start to encounter structural issues, so that shouldn’t be a problem. In fact, I think this is the answer for most because you are adding loft without adding any length to the club. Golf clubs that are slightly too long for the average player have become the norm and it’s not a good thing.

  5. How does it get 5 stars when you don’t even give us side-by-side hitting data chart with the older models and other type of the same club from other manufacturers?
    This review, again, is bogus

    • A review shouldn’t be based off of comparisons to other things, it should have to do with the performance of the golf club, probably a bit to do with the aesthetics. ‘How can you say that movie got 5 stars when you didn’t even compare it to another movie’. Assume these were compared to S55’s, and the numbers are identical. Same carry distance, launch angle, spin rate…but they felt better and are more forgiving…would you say they can’t get 5 stars because the measurable numbers are the same?? I’m not saying that seemingly every club review on here doesn’t get 5 stars and it’s pretty watered down at this point, but at least have your reasoning for complaining make some sort of sense.

      • But that’s not what happened here. And movies cannot be quantified except for box-office receipts.
        The descriptions clearly compare this iron’s stats (such as the 4.5% increase in MOI from the S55 as well as the lengths of the clubs, etc), therefore data evidence showing this effect should be analyzed before the ratings could be given.
        You make yourself sound reasonable, but the rationale for this attack is unfounded.

        • There are a number of God-awful movies that have made a ton of money at the box office, so those would be considered a success for the studio and not the consumer. A single person’s enjoyment of a movie may look very different than a review by a critic. Look on Rotten Tomatoes to see how often the ratings differ 30-50%+ between the critics and consumers. PING normally waits until they actually have something better to release a new club than follow the standard release timeline that some companies do. Look how many pros are already playing the iblades… do you know how long it usually takes players to switch their irons vs any other clubs in their bag? Some players even switched the moment these clubs were available to them.

          You don’t have to like the iBlade irons and you certainly do not even have to give them a whack for yourself. But, if you think everything in this world should be based on empirical data, you’re gonna have a bad time

          • Enjoy living in fiction and other people’s opinion that mean squat.
            If they published proper data from actual hits, we’d all know the truth and the reality, wouldn’t we. No need for any stars

  6. Very nice looking iron.I think the “i” must stand for imposter. They are posing as a blade while being a deep cavity, thin faced iron with a polymer filling to give a blade like appearance.Don’t get me wrong I think for those mid-handicap guys that want to say “I’m playing blades” they are perfect.I really like the lack of offset.Love the satin finish.

  7. I’m pretty sure your pricing is wrong. I heard from a pretty good source that steel was gonna be $1050 a set. Same shaft options as the I E1. Didn’t here about graphite.

  8. Over $1,100 for 4-pw for a cast so called blade? I will pass. Mizuno, Titleist, Callaway, TM and on and on offer forged blades at this level. iblade is Apple involved?

    • I agree, that price for a set of cast heads is ridiculous when you can buy a high-end forged set for about the same price. Maybe if they were cast from 304SS or 8620 carbon, but $1,110 for a set of 431SS heads? C’mon now…

      • 431 has a much higher strength to weight ratio and overall yield strength than 304. 431 SS is a more durable material and 304 is only minimally softer IMO while generally costing much more for the raw material. 8620 would have been a better choice here if the iron were forged, but I think 431 is a perfect choice for these cast clubs. I think we’d all like to see the price of an iron set be lower, but I’d expect these to last just as long as forged irons based on how the Glide wedges wear (they have the same coating to my knowledge)

    • Taylormade prices has risen 28 % this year ( I do live i cold far way Sweden but still) and Ping prices has risen 31%. The PSI Forged set (4-PW) will run about 1300-1400 € give or take, not including any ridiculous up charge shaft. A set of Titliest CB/MB, again 4-PW will go for about 1100 €.

      The point I am trying to make is this, Ping, Cobra, Nike (obviously not anymore) etc. have all started charging more for their clubs. Yes even Mizuno went up this year (I think somewhere around 18 or 21 % but don’t quote me on that). Golf is getting more and more expensive as the clubs get more advanced.

      Yes you could say that Ping is charging too much but I think they are finally catching up with other brands, such as Titliest. They are finally offering a club with similar performance (At least from what I found) at a similar price.

      Don’t quote me on the exact percentages but I think they are somewhat correct.

  9. The do look nice, but I’m not sure if the cavity is just a bit nondescript. It’s just a big silver hole. It could have done with the PING logo. It’s also amazing we’re saying that the lofts are “weaker” with the short irons when the PW is basically an 8 iron from 15-20 years ago! We really need to abandon numbers on the soles and put the lofts down.

  10. I’ve hit a demo. Threw the Proj X 6.0 in there (what up, Spieth) and took a few hacks. They are pretty much as described here, not a MP-5 or 716 MB by any means but much more forgiving than those clubs. The top line looks like a blade in its first trimester. Not bad.

    I carved a few around the launch monitor screen and then let loose, center hit felt great. Like biting into a cream filled donut. In my mind, I said, “That was punished.” The ball speed was probably about 3-4 mph less than Apex CF16, which is the hottest 7-iron I’ve hit and I’ve hit pretty much everything. So for all you guys out there with the Tour Issue X100s hard stepped till the cows come home, you’ll still be 15 yds longer than the average tour pro with these.

    But for $1300 (is that American dollars?) my lord, they’ll never get my TM 300 Forged out of the bag and if I had that kind of money, I’d buy MP-25s anyway. Come to church.

  11. Nice looking heads. No flashy badging and paint… ” it’s your skill that’s responsible for great iron shots, not the technology in your clubs.” I’ll use this quote.

  12. Gorgeous set of clubs. Totally deserving of a 5 star review if WRX had some data to back it up. Shame they cost a quite a bit more than some of the best forged offerings from any mainstream brand! Upcharge shafts as well with weaker than normal options for fitters to use at no upcharge. But it is PING after all, and like Apple, they can do whatever they want and the masses will still buy.

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